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Article - Winning UNL whizkids have an app for that

Winning? UNL whiz-kids have an app for that

Winning? UNL whiz-kids have an app for that

Their hearts race. Their hands sweat.

Posted: Thu, Mar 28, 2013

Their hearts race.

Their hands sweat.

UNL Raikes School students Neema Bahramzad, Alec Johnston, Chris Johnson, Clay Upton and Derek Guenther – "Team Stock Bros" – sit around a table, staring at a computer screen as they wait for word on who's won the TradeKing national app-development contest.

And $58,000.

And bragging rights for UNL's Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management over 28 other teams across the nation.

They feel pressure because they know winning would show the nation that the Raikes School is a top-tier school. The computer screen flickers and suddenly the students are looking at a live webcast picture of themselves on the screen.

And the winner is...

"Team Stock Bros wins!"

They hug and pump fists in the air.

"I know I personally jumped out of my chair after they announced we won the top prize," says Bahramzad, a junior computer engineering major. "It felt great to compete nationally and win."

Bahramzad says it was developing three unique apps – an Android phone app, a browser extension and a stock notification program – that made them stand out in the contest and win it this past February.

"We as Nebraskans should be proud because we don't buy into every new buzzword or technology without first understanding how it works and if it will actually provide value to people," he says. "We hope that people will recognize that the education that the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management offers to students is invaluable."

The process of creating the apps started in 2011.

It was September, Bahramzad says, when a professor at the Raikes School introduced students to the TradeKing competition.

Team Stock Bros brainstormed ideas and landed on the idea of combining a Google Chrome browser extension and a notification service that monitors stock prices.

As the Dec. 12 deadline approached, Team Stock Bros spent many hours working on the project, especially at the end – which happened to be finals week.

The hard work paid off when they were announced finalists on Jan. 30 and winners on Feb. 15.

"For the next 24 hours I had family, friends, acquaintances and reporters trying to contact me, to congratulate me, and learn more about what I had done," he says.

Another UNL team – "Team WYSIWYG" – developed a Windows 7 phone app. Those students won $1,500.

Bahramzad credits the Raikes School.

"Its integrated curriculum of business and computer topics perfectly prepared us for the TradeKing competition."

Information technology is one of the top priorities of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you'd like to help, please give online or contact the foundation at 800-432-3216.

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